In this exclusive interview, The Hold Steady front guy Craig Finn says the title of his first solo album, Clear Heart Full Eyes, is "about remaining optimistic, not jaded." We're pretty sure he's talking about himself and not the characters in his songs, since the ones here tend to be lonely drunks living in rented rooms and trying to get over the girl who left them for some dude with creepily long fingernails. The music is more spare and less anthemic than your average Hold Steady song, but the lyrics are just as packed with telling details, sly observations and perfect refrains—such as "we're all good/ we're all bad/ we're euphoric/ and we're sad" from "Honolulu Blues" (which you can grab for free through January 30). – Tim Quirk, Google Music
Sorry, but this promotion has expired. Check Magnifier regularly for more free music.